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Maricopa County Set to Vote on BNSF Railway’s Contested 4,300-Acre

BNSF Railway's proposed development in Maricopa County is set to be voted on by local officials later this year amid ongoing opposition from residents. The Texas-based company, in partnership with CRG and the Kroenke Group, plans to build a 4,300-acre regional rail complex and industrial center, a project that would include 18 million square feet of warehousing. A major comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning application to Maricopa County has reportedly replaced an original annexation plan by the City of Surprise. ABC15.

Despite the strategic shift in plan application, the project has not assuaged local concerns. At a meeting held July 2, county officials considered items such as traffic impact studies and road safety, and questioned synergies with Vision 2030 and the White Tank Grand Avenue Area Plan. The county is seeking clearer explanations from BNSF about why annexation in Surprise is no longer being pursued and how the project seeks to foster a more connected regional infrastructure, the county report stated. Phoenix Business Journal.

Resident backlash was relentless, with 46 letters of opposition submitted to Maricopa County officials, raising issues including traffic, infrastructure capacity, emergency response times and environmental concerns. “As we move forward with this plan, it's really important that we address the fact that there are already several rural and residential areas in the area, all of which could be significantly affected by this plan,” stressed planner Joel Landis in a statement obtained by the state legislature. Phoenix Business JournalZoning attorney Susan Demitt, who represents BNSF, said she is willing to discuss the issues raised with the city of Surprise and seek a compromise.

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